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Canadian businesses believe burnout will hurt companies’ bottom line this year, new Sage study in Canada finds

Business leaders share concerns for employees’ wellbeing; a hybrid work model; and investing for recovery

TORONTO, April 28, 2021Sage (FTSE: SGE), the market leader in cloud business management solutions, uncovered the impact of burnout on Canadian businesses in a new commissioned report – 2021 Forward Together.

The report found:

  • Among businesses hurt by the pandemic, 42% of Canadian business leaders believe dampened employee morale and potential increase of burnout will negatively impact their revenues for the remainder of 2021.
  • One in three (32%) Canadian workers believe burnout in their household (themselves or their family) will affect their ability to do their job effectively this year.

Concerns over employees’ wellbeing

When planning for post-pandemic recovery, business leaders are placing much emphasis on their employees, primarily their mental health and safety. However, the level of action taken varies.

  • 47% of business leaders are concerned about employee burnout. However, of those concerned, 68% have not taken action to address this issue.
  • 43% are concerned about employees feeling safe to return to the workplace and of those concerned, half (51%) have already taken action to address the issue.

In addition, vaccine rollout is another major factor determining businesses’ outlook and business leaders and workers share similar opinions on vaccines.

  • A majority (86%) of business leaders believe keeping vaccine rollout on or ahead of schedule will contribute to their success in 2021.
  • Half of business leaders (55%) and workers (51%) believe receiving a COVID-19 vaccine should be mandatory before employees return to the workplace, compared to 24% of business leaders and 32% of workers who believe that should not be the case.

"The past year has been a difficult time for many businesses across Canada to navigate, but we're starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel," says Nancy Tichbon, Managing Director, Sage Canada. "While there are some external factors outside of our control, business leaders should be focused on planning and prioritizing employee wellbeing, investing in training and skills development, hiring new staff and adopting the latest technologies to enable employees to work smarter, not harder."

Preparing for post-pandemic recovery

For business leaders, post-pandemic recovery priorities include a viable and sustainable hybrid work model, required technologies for efficiency and growth, and relevant employee skills.

A hybrid work model

  • 76% of business leaders will continue to allow employees to work remotely and 68% of workers expect the same.

Business leaders are also demonstrating confidence that the hybrid work arrangement is working and is necessary moving forward for the reasons below:

  • Increasing productivity (42%)
  • Attracting and retaining talent (41%)
  • Mitigating burnout (34%)

Priority investments

Despite the current financial challenges caused by the pandemic, business leaders are prepared to invest in the following for the balance of this year:

  • 47% will increase their technology budget and 36% will increase their marketing budget.
  • 33% of businesses who are anticipating negative revenue impact will digitize their operations.
  • 37% will offer internal training and 28% are willing to pay for external training.

Workers, meanwhile, prefer an increase in compensation (34%) to internal training (13%) or external training (17%), but only 16% of business leaders intend to increase workers’ compensation.

Recovery in 2022

Business leaders currently have mixed confidence in their outlook for the remaining of the year. More than half (53%) of Canadian businesses experienced revenue decline due to COVID-19, of which three-quarters (74%) expect this trend to continue through the end of 2021.

However, some are showing signs of optimism starting in 2022:

  • Of the 44% of business leaders who anticipate a negative revenue impact for the remainder of 2021, 56% of them believe this will reverse in 2022.
  • Of the 30% of business leaders who anticipate positive revenue impact in 2021, 34% of them believe the positive impact will continue into 2022.

To see how Sage customers across Canada are using our technology to improve their business, visit this interactive map.

To learn more, please download the full 2021 Forward Together report.

Media Contact

Monique Daniel
[email protected]
(905) 781-0758


In partnership with Sage, Angus Reid Group conducted an online survey among a representative sample of 1,569 Canadian workers and 775 business decision makers in organizations with 50 to 499 employees, in the week of March 22, 2021. The respondents are members of Angus Reid Forum. For comparison purposes only, this sample plan would carry a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points 19 times out of 20 for business leaders, and +/- 2.5 percentage points for working Canadians 19 times out of 20.

About Sage

Sage is the global market leader for technology that provides small and medium businesses with the visibility, flexibility, and efficiency to manage finances, operations, and people. With our partners, Sage is trusted by millions of customers worldwide to deliver the best cloud technology and support. Our years of experience mean that our colleagues and partners understand how to serve our customers and communities through the good, and more challenging times. We are here to help, with practical advice, solutions, expertise, and insight.

About Angus Reid Group

Angus Reid is Canada’s most well-known and respected name in opinion and market research data. Offering a variety of research solutions to businesses, brands, governments, not-for-profit organizations and more, the Angus Reid Group team connects technologies and people to derive powerful insights that inform your decisions. Data is collected through a suite of tools utilizing the latest technologies. Prime among that is the Angus Reid Forum, an opinion community consisting of engaged residents across the country who answer surveys on topical issues that matter to all Canadians.

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